News In Brief

The US

Ross Perot's Reform Party filed a civil lawsuit over the 1996 presidential elections. In US district court in San Francisco, the party said the Federal Elections Commission effectively shut Perot out of the 1996 race by limiting Reform Party access to US matching funds. It also spotlighted "soft money" fundraising by the Clinton and Dole campaigns, which Perot called "major felonies."

The House overwhelmingly approved legislation to reform the Internal Revenue Service. The measure, approved 426 to 4, would introduce 28 new "taxpayer rights" and create a new IRS oversight board that would include members from the private sector.

The House passed a nine-bill package that would increase sanctions against China for human-rights offenses. It would provide more money to monitor abuse of human rights in China, sanction China for selling missiles to Iran, bar some Chinese religious and family-planning officials from the US, and extend from 30 to 120 days the congressional review of a recent accord allowing US nuclear-energy equipment to be sold to China.

A group of House Republicans asked for an inquiry that could lead to the impeachment of President Clinton. Georgia Rep. Bob Barr and 17 other GOP lawmakers introduced a resolution calling on the House Judiciary Committee to investigate alleged violations of the law by the president. The panel would report on whether impeachment proceedings are warranted. The move was ridiculed by White House press secretary Mike McCurry.

New documents, including a cashier's check payable to Bill Clinton, have allowed Whitewater prosecutors to piece together previously unknown transactions at an Arkansas savings institution, sources familiar with the probe said. The documents were reportedly pulled from a car at a Little Rock junkyard in March. President Clinton has sworn under oath that he "never borrowed any money" from the failing Madison Guaranty savings and loan. Late last week the Whitewater prosecutors in Little Rock requested a six-month extension of their grand-jury inquiry.

Clinton helped celebrated the dedication of a George Bush Library and Museum at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. The facility cost $40 million.

A survey of academic-aptitude and intelligence-test scores indicates racial differences have narrowed, two developmental psychologists at Cornell University in New York reported. Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci wrote in the journal American Psychologist that racial differences decreased by about 50 percent from 1970 to 1988.

A federal jury began deliberations in the trial of Ramzi Yousef, the alleged mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing, and Eyad Ismoil, the alleged driver of the van used in the blast. Testimony in the case began in New York City in August.

California, Texas, Florida, and other southern states will be drenched with unusually heavy rainfall during the next few months because of the El Nino weather pattern, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. The El Nino phenomenon is a warming of ocean temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific.

The number of first-time claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly shot up by 16,000 last week to the highest level in nine weeks, the Labor Department said. New applications totaled a seasonally adjusted 315,000.

The Harvard University Center for International Affairs received a $21 million gift. The center will be renamed for Albert and Celia Weatherhead, who made the donation, school officials said.

The Smithsonian Institution announced a $20 million gift for its Museum of Natural History from developer Kenneth Behring, a former owner of the Seattle Seahawks football team. The donation is reportedly the single largest in the institution's 151-year history.

The World

UN and Iraqi representatives ended a third round of talks in Baghdad over the country's refusal to allow American arms inspectors to do their work. Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf denied his government was impeding the inspections, but did say some military equipment had been moved "to escape attack" by US forces. For a fourth straight day, UN teams were denied access to suspected weapons sites because they included Americans. In Washington, Vice President Gore said the US "will make sure" that Iraq complies with requirements to open its arsenal to inspection.

Amid frenetic maneuvering to form a new government in Thailand, outgoing Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said he might have to remain in office for another week. Chavalit was due to present a replacement Cabinet to King Bhumibol as the Monitor went to press, but negotiations that would give power to ex-Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai still were leaving the latter two seats short of a majority in parliament.

Fresh from his summit with President Clinton, Chinese leader Jiang Zemin was due to receive Russia's Boris Yeltsin in Beijing Sunday. Centerpiece of the three-day visit: the signing of an accord aimed at ending decades of dispute over the 2,600-mile border dividing the two countries. As a gesture to his Communist opponents in parliament, Yeltsin was to include a senior party leader in his entourage.

Deep divisions over the Irish Republican Army's latest cease-fire have caused "about" 20 influential members to resign, a Dublin newspaper reported. Among them: a hardline former "chief of staff" and the "quartermaster-general" who had charge of weapons and explosives caches. The newspaper said the split arose over the future of the truce if peace talks in Northern Ireland make no progress. Analysts saw the development as an embarrassment for Sinn Fein, the IRA's political ally, but doubted it would have an immediate impact on the cease-fire.

France's trucking strike appeared to pivot on a negotiating session at which haulers were to present a proposal for a pay increase of three to six percent. But unionized drivers said they were prepared to continue holding out "for as long as it takes" because the proposal would give them only a one-franc-per-hour raise.

A new solar panel installed during a spacewalk by Mir cosmonauts should soak up twice as much energy as those used previously, flight directors said. The mission lasted more than six hours. Mir has experienced repeated technical problems since colliding with an unmanned cargo craft in June, often losing power in the process.

An eagerly awaited ruling on whether the Church of Scientology is a religion was sidestepped by a federal court in Germany. Instead, judges ordered a state court to decide whether the group should have nonprofit status or be regarded as a business. They told the court in Baden-Wuerttemberg that Scientology would qualify as a business only if it profited from selling educational materials to nonmembers.

Heavy rains, winds, and flooding from a storm system that began last weekend left much of Spain and Portugal struggling to recover. At least 25 deaths were blamed on the downpour that sent the Guadiana River over its banks, knocking out electricity, telephone, and train service and collapsing houses. Thirty other people were listed as missing. The river forms part of the border between the two countries.

"Next time, keep your earphones on, please."

- Mir Mission Control to astronaut David Wolf, who caused alarm by breaking off radio contact to film a spacewalk by his crewmates.


Incredible, but true: On Nov. 3, one year to the day after a Coast Guard C-130 transport plane was hit by lightning on approach to an airfield at Cold Bay, Alaska, it was struck again - in the same spot at the same facility. Scorch marks from the two incidents are right beside each other. No one was hurt, and the plane is back in service, but the crew is talking about renaming it "Flash."

Victor wasn't victorious in a high-school football playoff in upstate New York, partly because of the - er - bond between one of its players and his father. Dad tried to give his son's team an edge by gluing the locks shut to Canandaigua Academy's fieldhouse so the rival's athletes couldn't get to their equipment. But he was caught in the act. Canandaigua played harder than it might have otherwise and won, 27-14.

Life in Afghanistan under Taliban Islamic fundamentalist rule is becoming downright barberous. The regime's religious police now stop men on the streets and forcibly cut hair that falls over the forehead - to keep it from coming between skin and ground when kneeling in prayer.

The Day's List

Shopper Survey Reveals Plans for Holiday Buying

US retailers can expect about a $200 billion volume in holiday sales this year, according to estimates from a Gallup survey conducted last month for the International Mass Retail Association in Arlington, Va. Other findings indicating what consumers have in mind for the season:

Likely to spend more than last year: 12%

Likely to spend about the same: 58%

Likely to spend less: 26%

Likely to shop at department stores: 49% (6% less than '96)

Likely to buy from nonstore retailers: 23%

Likely to finish shopping during November: 11%

Likely to finish during first two weeks of December: 35%

Likely to finish just in time for Christmas: 14%

- Business Wire

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